3 Ways I Gained Perspective in My 30s

ICYMI, I turned 33 years old exactly 10 days ago (you can check out highlights from my Lady Gaga-themed birthday party here). Some folks in my position would be sad to be officially out of their 20s, but in all honesty, I kinda love my 30s.

Why do I prefer this decade of life? I’ve said this out loud to a number of people, but in case you missed it, I’ll lay it out right here, right now: I am *finally* becoming more comfortable with who I am and what I want.

As with everything, this is still a work in progress. However, as my birthday came and went, and we charge into a new astrological new year (where my astrology peeps at?!) I’ve been very reflective lately on how I got here.

And so, after much thinking and introspection, I’ve landed on three major ways my perspective has changed as I’ve embraced my 30s—and more importantly—embraced my authentic self.

New Perspective On Family

Over five years ago (has it really been that long?) my dad passed away, which flipped my entire world upside down and forced me to look at things in a completely different way. I suddenly found myself taking a step back to reflect on what actually matters, and as a result, made some changes in terms of how I live my life. Some days are better than others of course, but after my dad passed I’ve made a concerted effort to not take anything (or anyone) for granted.

How did I gain perspective? By discovering…

  • I have an amazing support system, including a wonderful chosen family in addition to my biological fam.
  • I have a wonderful husband and partner who is ready and willing to stick by my side no matter what life throws at us.
  • My parents are a part of me and have played a huge role in who I am and how I operate in the world.
  • I need to embrace my culture because it is definitely something I want to pass on to my future children.
  • When it comes to family in general, you need to hold on to the things that matter. Let everything else go.

New Perspective On Career

In one of my more popular posts, I talked about my pivot from teaching communication to working in the field of communication at Vectorworks—a HUGE deal because I thought I would be a professor for the rest of my life. Now here we are, almost two years later, and I feel like I’ve already learned so much: about leaning on my team, trusting myself, and remaining curious regardless of where I am employed. I’m proud that my efforts at Vectorworks have paid off in the form of a promotion, where I now have the opportunity as Communications Manager to lead and mentor junior writers on my team. Even though it was very scary at the time, leaving academia has taught me many life lessons that I wouldn’t have received otherwise.

How did I gain perspective? By observing…

  • Perfectionism doesn’t bode well for me in the workplace.
  • Working 24/7 doesn’t bring me joy and balance.
  • Having amazing co-workers makes the workday worthwhile.
  • Having solid mentors and managers is immensely valuable.
  • My “not enough” at work is actually great…even promotable!
  • I am capable of making a lasting impact on my team and organization.

New Perspective On Mindset

Many of my teachers/benefactors have discussed the power of meditation, but it isn’t until very recently that I’ve decided to make the effort to meditate at least 10 minutes every morning. Since beginning this practice, I have been more cognizant of staying present and observing thoughts and feelings without judgment or attachment. As practicing yogi I’ve always understood the power of mindfulness and breath, but through daily meditation, I hope to work on bringing yoga principles to my every day awareness, outside of the mat.

How did I gain perspective? By realizing…

  • The power of staying present reaps many benefits.
  • Being mindful in what I say and do oftentimes reduces my anger/defensiveness/fear.
  • Some deep breathing (even for a few minutes!) can do magical wonders.
  • If I surround myself with people who can serve as teachers/role models on conscious living, I am constantly reminded of what I strive for in my own life.

So there you have it. Not a mind-blowing list by any means, but certainly one that took a few decades of work to bring to my awareness.

Anything you would add? Anything I may have missed?

Lessons Learned from Missing Dad: Year 3 Edition

Today is October 7th.

Three years ago, I was getting ready to teach a social media class at my first “real job” post-graduate school at Virginia Commonwealth University when my sister called.

It was 3:30 PM.

I immediately sensed something was wrong.

Unfortunately I was right.

My wonderful, funny, patient, and kind father had passed away after a hard fight
against esophageal cancer.

He was only 66.

And now here we are, three years later, and I’m thinking: damn, time flies by so fast.

LIFE flies by so fast. 

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So now I have a question.

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you just felt…I dunno, off?

Yeah, well I was having one of those weeks, and I finally realized it’s because we were approaching today.

The day I would never get see my dad laugh, or sing karaoke, or play poker for hours on Facebook ever again.

…and it totally, absolutely, positively…

sucks. like, really damn hard.

So what do I do? Well as per usual whenever I feel sad, I sing. So here you go:

In addition, I suppose due mostly in part by my recent Hamilton/Lin Manuel-Miranda inspiration, I wrote a spoken word piece about my dad’s passing as well:

…it still ain’t over yet…

Lastly, as a final homage to my dad, my hubs and I made corned beef with potatoes, onion, and white rice, a common Bob Briones food staple and my personal version of comfort food:

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I am very proud to say that despite my fumbling a bit to figure out how to get this simple meal all together, it tasted exactly how I remember it, and Derek even thought it was yummy.

So it ended up being an ok day after all.

So there you go. I taught, I graded, I did a bit of research…and then I pulled together a song, a poem, and some food. I think dad would have been pleased.